The beginner’s guide to the cost of living in Los Angeles


Updated on May 20 • 6 minute read

Ready to embrace the City of Angels? You're in for a treat! With an average cost of living of $3,277, Los Angeles is one of the most expensive cities in the US. Yet, you can still find a way to enjoy LA without breaking the bank. This is where we come in.

Our goal is to help you live the La La Land dream without any budget blues! So, join us as we explore the 6 key expenses: rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, healthcare, and getting around town.

How much does it cost to live in Los Angeles?

While your spending habits influence your budget, you can expect an average monthly cost of living in Los Angeles of $3,277 for 1 person. The average monthly salary in LA is $6,319, so leading a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle is possible.

The table below gives you an overview of the 6 essential living expenses for 1 person:

TypeAverage cost of living in LA
Phone & Internet$85
Health insurance$271

Are you moving with your family? Then, your monthly cost of living in Los Angeles will be around $7,979 (renting a 2-bedroom apartment). That’s because, in addition to the abovementioned costs, you also have to consider things like a nanny or preschool, which are very expensive in Los Angeles.

Average rent in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has one of the highest accommodation costs in the US. With an average rental price of $2,155 per month, it’s no surprise that many residents choose to split the costs with roommates or live in some of the more affordable neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect in terms of average rent in Los Angeles:

TypeAverage rent in Los Angeles
Private room$1,058
Apartment (1 bedroom)$2,241
Apartment (2 bedroom)$3,343

As two-thirds of Angelenos rent their homes, the average rent is quite high, especially in trendy areas. If you want to live in some of the more popular and best neighborhoods in LA, like Silverlake and West Hollywood, your rental prices will be above the average we've shown here. Check out our guide on how to find an apartment to learn some more tips and tricks.

Los Angeles can be a tough place to find a home as it's so popular. If you plan to move here, start exploring homes for rent in Los Angeles as soon as possible. With HousingAnywhere, you can easily check out lots of rental options online. You can even reserve place before you arrive, and we'll make sure your rent is protected for the first 48 hours after you move in.

Average utility bill in Los Angeles

Utility bills are one of the smaller living expenses in Los Angeles. To cover the electricity, gas, water, and garbage pickup, you’ll need between $142 and $183 monthly.

Besides that, you need to consider the internet, which is between $50 and $70 monthly. One way you can save on costs is by looking for an internet/cell phone bundle. Getting a mobile phone plan contract costs between $35 and $85, depending on the carrier and the amount of data you want. For affordable options, check out MintMobile or T-Mobile.

Groceries in Los Angeles

Unfortunately, groceries can be quite expensive in Los Angeles, especially if you’re shopping at Whole Foods or Erewhon. A single person in Los Angeles can expect to spend between $400 and $500 monthly on groceries. Here’s a list of some essential items and their prices:

TypeAverage cost
Water (1.5 l)$2.24
Bottle of wine (mid-range)$15
Beer (0.5 l)$2.31
Milk (1 l)$1.27
Loaf of bread$4.62
Rice (1 kg)$5.65
Eggs (12)$5.74
Chicken fillets (1 kg)$14.55
Potatoes (1 kg)$3.14
Tomatoes (1 kg)$5.15
Bananas (1 kg)$1.87
Apples (1 kg)$5.25
Oranges (1 kg)$3.40

Here are some ways you can save on your weekly shopping:

  • Buying from farmer's markets, fruit and vegetable stands, corner stores
  • Shopping at supermarkets like Trader Joe's, Aldi, 99 cents store, Costco, Hispanic and Asian supermarkets
  • Ordering your groceries through delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Prime as they often have deals and loyalty programs


Roughly 84% of Angelenos drive, as LA's public transportation needs improvement. If you’re a car owner, you should budget additional $300–$400. This is to cover expenses like gas ($5–$6 per gallon), car insurance (between $67 and $200), and parking (between $10–$20 to park your car) to your monthly expenses.

If you don’t drive, your best option is public transport. While LA's public transport might not have the best reputation, the public transport authority (Metro) is implementing new routes and connections to improve safety, cleanliness, and frequency.

The public transport offers a range of ticket options. The basic journey fare is $1.75, and as an LA resident, the best option for you is to purchase a daily or weekly fare cap for your TAP card (public transport card) or Apple Pay card.

By getting a fare cap, you will pay at most $5 per day or $18 per week, and once you reach your cap, the following journeys are free. So if you buy 4 weekly caps, your monthly cost for public transport is $72.

You re-charge your TAP card with the fare cap. The basic journey fare remains $1.75, but you get 2 hours of free one-way transfers.

Check with your employer if they’re part of the Metro Employer Annual Pass Program.

Students pay a reduced fare and have 2 options for accessing it: by getting a U-Pass (only for students of participating universities) or a Reduced Fare TAP card. In either case, the basic fare for students is $0.75, and a 7-day Cap is $6. The prices vary for U-Pass holders.

Health insurance in Los Angeles

In the United States, you aren't required to have health insurance, so you don't have to stress about finding a health insurance provider when you move to Los Angeles. But, if you're coming from another country, health insurance might be necessary for your American visa.

If you decide to skip health insurance, you'll need to budget for healthcare expenses. Visiting an optometrist can cost around $131, while a trip to a doctor or dentist may run you about $140. On top of that, you'll be responsible for covering the cost of any medications, which can get as high as $500.

If you opt for health insurance, remember that factors like your age, lifestyle, and medical history will influence your monthly premiums. But if you choose a more affordable provider (e.g. LA Care), you can expect to pay between $271 and $394 monthly. Some employers even share the costs, making it easier for their employees to manage their healthcare expenses.

Entertainment in Los Angeles

As the hub of Hollywood, the Dodgers, and the Lakers, Los Angeles stands out as one of the world's best cities for leisure and entertainment. To experience the fun side of Los Angeles, we recommend budgeting at least between $250 and $300.

You can hike in one of the many hiking trails in and around the city, spend the day at the beach, see LA's skyline from the Griffith Observatory, or go to a Lakers game. The city offers so many entertainment options, and you can do something different every day of the year.

Leisure time & personal careAverage cost
Cinema ticket$16.50
Museum ticket (Griffith Observatory)$10
Sports tickets (Los Angeles Lakers)$456
Gym membership (month)$50–$250
Yoga/pilates (lesson)$25–$45

When it comes to dining and nightlife, Los Angeles is the place to be. The city has a night-out spot for any occasion, from upscale restaurants and clubs to dive bars and taco trucks. Remember that partying in LA is expensive, so the more you go out, the more your cost of living grows.

DiningAverage cost
Dinner for 2 (mid-range range restaurant)$100
McMeal at McDonalds$11
Domestic beer (0.5 l)$8
Avocado toast$8.50
Tacos (food truck)$4/per taco
Pizza slice$4

Although Los Angeles is often seen as one of the pricier cities globally, you can manage the cost of living here without emptying your wallet with proper preparation and useful tools. Begin your search for rental homes in Los Angeles today, and your aspiration of living the Californian dream is well within reach!

This article is for informational purposes only.

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